They Were Like Threads
On the steep, rocky path to Degrave, Haiti, pieces of old asphalt collected from a road demolition project many years ago act as makeshift cobblestones.
Like the road to Degrave, families in this poor, rural community in Haiti are skilled at piecing together a life from the difficult realities that surround them: political instability, economic stagnation, rising food prices, declining agricultural yields, lack of government services and infrastructure, and vulnerability to natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes.
As I walk this path to one of the weekly child malnutrition clinics MCC has run in this area since July 2017, the nurses tell me about the two children they want me to meet: nearly three-year-old twins, Gabina and Gabison Ossinel.
“They were like threads,” Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) nurse Marius Kerline says, pulling her thumb over her index finger to make an impossibly small representation of how thin their arms were when she first met them. “They were 2 1/2, but they could not walk. They could not hold their plates up themselves to eat. They were so weak and sick, they could not control their defecation. I really thought we might lose them.”